Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, July 15, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 15, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 15, 2017 11THE WORLD AROUND US 
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft doesn’t zoom 
past its next science target until New Year’s Day 
2019, but the Kuiper Belt object, known as 2014 
MU69, is already revealing surprises.

Scientists have been sifting through data 
gathered from observing the object’s quick pass 
in front of a star—an astronomical event known 
as an occultation—on June 3. More than 50 
mission team members and collaborators set up 
telescopes across South Africa and Argentina, 
along a predicted track of the narrow shadow of 
MU69 that the occultation would create on Earth’s 
surface, aiming to catch a two-second glimpse of 
the object’s shadow as it raced across the Earth. 
Accomplishing the observations of that occultation 
was made possible with the help of NASA’s Hubble 
Space Telescope and Gaia, a space observatory of 
the European Space Agency (ESA).

Combined, the pre-positioned mobile 
telescopes captured more than 100,000 images 
of the occultation star that can be used to assess 
the environment around this Kuiper Belt object 
(KBO). While MU69 itself eluded direct detection, 
the June 3 data provided valuable and unexpected 
insights that have already helped New Horizons.

“These data show that MU69 might not be as 
dark or as large as some expected,” said occultation 
team leader Marc Buie, a New Horizons science 
team member from Southwest Research Institute 
(SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.

Initial estimates of MU69’s diameter, based 
primarily on data taken by the Hubble Space 
Telescope since the KBO’s discovery in 2014, fall 
in the 12-25-mile range—though data from this 
summer’s ground-based occultation observations 
might imply it’s at or even below the smallest sizes 
expected before the June 3 occultation.

Besides MU69’s size, the readings offer details 
on other aspects of the Kuiper Belt object.

“These results are telling us something really 

More data are on the way, with additional 

interesting,” said New Horizons Principal 

occultations of MU69 occurring on July 10 and 

Investigator Alan Stern, of SwRI. “The fact that we 

July 17. On July 10, NASA’s airborne Stratospheric 

accomplished the occultation observations from 

Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will 

every planned observing site but didn’t detect 

use its powerful 100-inch (2.5-meter) telescope 

the object itself likely means that either MU69 is 

to probe the space around MU69 for debris that 

highly reflective and smaller than some expected, 

might present a hazard to New Horizons as it flies 

or it may be a binary or even a swarm of smaller 

by in 18 months.

bodies left from the time when the planets in our 

On July 17, the Hubble Space Telescope also 

solar system formed.” 

will check for debris around MU69, while team 



Introducing Initiative-2217 

[Nyerges is the author of the sake of aesthetics. 

“How to Survive Anywhere,” With the water that we do use, everything but the

“Extreme Simplicity: toilet water can and should go into yards, where itHomesteading in the City,” “Foraging California,” and is feasible to do so, to water landscaping plants, fruitother books. He can be reached at www.SchoolofSelf-trees, and gardens. This naturally requires the, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041] of safe detergents, such as the Seventh Generation

brand, or the Ed Begley Jr. brand. Plus, the building

We’re all more-or-less aware of certain realities that and safety department of each city needs to seriouslysurround us and define our day-to-day reality. We review its view of gray water recycling. Gray waterlive here in Southern California, in the Sierra Madre recycling is something that can be done very easily,
area, with hills to the north, and various waterwayseconomically, and safely, but the city’s stringentto our east and west in this coastal desert plain.requirements are costly and more of an impedimentApproximately 80% of the water that we need forthan any sort of encouragement to go this route.
daily life comes from afar. We know there are wayComposting toilets are another idea whose timetoo many people living here for the local ecology to has come. Yes, they must be maintained properly, andsupport, so not only does our water come from afar,they are not as care-free as flush toilets. Yet, considerbut so does our food, our power, and nearly all of thethe vast swath of human history where the toiletgoods that fill the supermarket and hardware storecontents because a fertilizer for certain crops, withshelves. The streets and apartments get steadily moreno need to waste vast volumes of water. As we think 
crowded. to a sustainable future, the compost toilets can be

improved so they can be a staple in most households.
If you live here, you’re aware of these physicalThe Southland’s water issues will only get worse asrealities. You’re no doubt doing your best every day totime goes on, as a function of increasing population.
get to work and the store and school and to supportIt is instructive to review records of our area from 
your family so your life situation can improve. Most 100+ years ago, when the water table was higher andof us are aware of the larger physical reality of livingwhen the landscape looked green, not like a desert.
here, but the necessities of our life keep that reality asOne of the solutions looking to the future is to quita subtle background awareness. It isn’t something we planting inappropriate landscaping plants, some oftend to think about a lot. which are incredibly water-thirsty. The eucalyptustree, for example, is one of the highest water-usersThat is, we don’t think about this unless there is an and wells have been known to dry up after they areimmediate, or impending, crisis.planted. They also “poison” the soil so that other

The recent several-years drought forced most ofmore useful plants will not thrive. Far better is tous, including city and state leaders, to begin the slowfollow the lead of such groups as Tree People andprocess of re-thinking how we do things, especiallyother tree-planting groups plant appropriate native 
as it relates to water. This is because the lifestyletrees. 
that we have all somewhat automatically chosen toThese are just a few ways in which we can go backlive is not sustainable. We’ve created a world in the to the future. I envision a plan that will look 200sprawling Los Angeles basin that is powered by theyears into the future, allowing us to voluntarily moveauto, where houses are packed into every imaginableinto a culture that is sustainable for this area. I call 
piece of ground, where developers seek to maximizethis Initiative-2217, a long-term vision which willthe economic utility of every bit of real estate, andbe a unifying project of numerous groups workinglocal politicians are all too happy to support thistowards viable solutions. I will be sharing more ofunsustainable mindset. these details as the months proceed. 

Our chosen lifestyle is stressful on the landscape,
and stressful on our nerves. It requires bringing inwater from afar, with electricity generated far away,
a world kept alive by countless services from withinand without. 

One of the great ironies of this dream world is that,
though we must bring in water from afar to supportour population, we then divert the water that we doget here quickly out to the ocean in the network ofchannelized rivers that have been created over the 
past century. We know why this is done, of course,
because natural rivers want to go this way and thatwhen the heavy rains are falling. So we channel ourvaluable water out to ocean as quickly as possibleto protect our valuable real estate that was built tooclose to the river in the first place.

Solutions abound, of course. Many pioneers havebeen taking bold steps to move us away from thedisasters that will be the consequence of our choices.
Let’s explore just a few of those solutions. 

The trend towards drought tolerant lawns is a stepin the right direction. Since about 80% of our watercomes from afar, we don’t need green lawns just for 

members set up another ground-based “fence line” 25, 2016, for the last of the recorded data from 
of small mobile telescopes along the predicted the Pluto flyby to be received After completing its 
ground track of the occultation shadow in Pluto flyby, New Horizons was maneuvered for 
southern Argentina to try to better constrain, or its next destination—a flyby of MU69, expected 
even determine, the size of MU69. to take place on January 1, 2019, when it will be 

The New Horizons spacecraft was launched approximately 4 billion miles away from planet 
from Earth in 2006. After a nine-year journey, Earth. 
on July 14, 2015, it passed 7,800 miles above the You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 
surface of Pluto, making it the first spacecraft to 
explore the dwarf planet. It took until October 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


This month I celebrate she does a much better job at it. She knows how toanother birthday. At my age,keep that lawnmower running and if the engineI cannot remember exactlysounds a little off key, she knows exactly what’s

which one but that does not really matter. Thewrong and how to fix it and she does.
number of the birthday, in my point of view, doesMy responsibility is to give her a hand whenevernot influence the celebration of the birthday.I can. When she passes the front porch, I stand up

Life has been rather good to me in many and applaud as she goes by. It’s the least I can do.
respects. Then this past week brought in a new picture.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I areShe was mowing the grass when, unbeknownst toa wonderful team and have been for so many years;her, she ran over a long dog chain the neighborI’m not allowed to say how many.had somehow got into our lawn. By the time she

As a team, she can fix anything and I can breakrealized what had happened, the chain had twistedanything. That certainly goes hand-in-hand withall over the blades of that mower. 
life. No matter what I can break, she can fix. This She pulled the mower up to the house, turned ithas made life rather and began repairing it. The wire was all twisted

Throughout life, I have gone under the ruse thatvery tightly around one of the blades under thewhen it comes to fixing things I am all thumbs andmower. She pulled, yanked and twisted, but nothingno fingers. I cannot seem to fix anything. Of course,happened.
if it can be fixed with a hammer I might try. WhenI walked up to her and said, “Is there anything Ianything goes wrong in our house, I offer to fix itcan do to help?”
and my wife steps in most gallantly and retires meWithout even looking at me she said, “No, I gotto my easy chair.everything under control.” 

When I try to fix something it usually turns outWhat I have learned throughout life is neverworse than when I started. contradict your wife. That’s the recipe for a cooked 
I am not sure if I have created this ruse or if I goose.
really am “all thumbs.” I let her go and about a half-hour later, I noticedRegardless of the situation, as long as she can fixthe lawnmower was not running. I went around toit, I’m comfortable in breaking it.see what was happening and found her still trying

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t break things onto untwist that wire from the mower blades. 
purpose. At least, I do not think I do. At my age,I could see she was rather frustrated and had 
what’s thinking got to do with anything? It justgotten nowhere with unraveling that wire.
happens that I have the knack of breaking things.“Why don’t you let me look at it?” I asked asNobody has ever created anything that I cannot incalmly as possible.
some way break.“You can look at it,” she said kind of exasperated,

So, life has been wonderful and I hope it continues“but I don’t think there’s anything you can do.” 
to be wonderful and it will be as long as both of usI try to help whenever I can and I know that mystay to our role in the marriage. When I try to take“help” is rather limited compared to hers. I thoughtover her spot or she tries to take over my spot, thereI owed it to her to look at it and exclaim, “Wow, that 
is trouble a’ stirring.sure is twisted.” 

Everything was going wonderfully until I looked at it for a while, began juggling withsomething happened this past week.some of the wires and discovered one wire that 

One thing my wife enjoys is mowing the lawn. Iseemed to be a little looser than any of the otheram not allowed to ride the lawnmower and I am not wires. I tugged and pulled at it and within about fivequite sure why at this point. However, if it makesminutes, I had all of the wire unraveled from the 
her happy, it makes me happy. She spends manymower blade. 
happy hours mowing the grass.“There,” I said as calmly as possible. “I think I got

It is not so much that I don’t like to mow, but she it all fixed for you.” 

likes to mow much better than I do and of course, She looked at me rather quizzically; she got downto look at the blade and exclaimed, “My goodness.
You really did fix it. This must be a first.” 

When she said that a light went off inside mydarkened mind and I thought to myself, “Thisbetter not be the beginning of anything!”

A verse of Scripture started scampering throughmy mind. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, doit with thy might; for there is no work, nor device,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whitherthou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

From now on, I’m going to try to keep my handsto myself. 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of GodFellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. Helives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call himat 352-687-4240 or e-mail 
The church web site is 

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